Make sense of the chaotic digital landscape with your own digital marketing strategy framework with the help of this top-to-bottom guide.
Under the Propelrr Digital Marketing Framework, channels are considered one of the key factors in creating a marketing strategy. Target markets can be found from various channels. How you catch their attention depends on what they are interested in and how the platform works from their perspective.
Identifying your channels to be used for your digital marketing campaign is important because it helps you come up with a digital marketing strategy that directly targets your preferred audience. Where do they spend their time online? Social media or on Google search? Are you able to strike conversions with the audience in this channel? Are you in total control of what goes on in the channel for your brand reputation? These are just a few of the factors you need to consider.
Digital channels are divided into four categories: Earned, Paid, Rented, and Owned. Each of these has many platforms that businesses can use according to their needs.
Figure 7.1. Channels. The use of channels aren’t just limited to one, or two of them, but that also doesn’t mean to say that you’ll need to get to using all of them right off-the-bat. You must still assess the optimal channels that are relevant to both your business and your audiences. Photo by Propelrr.
As the name suggests, paid channels are platforms that offer paid advertising where businesses can target potential and recurring customers in commonly-used digital channels. Here are a few platforms that your business can use.
Figure 7.2. Google Ads. Is a type of paid channel where you can instantly gain the top spots on SERPs. With a fair amount of investment, you can propel your website or relevant landing pages to the top of the search results page, for your pre-determined keywords.
Google is the top search engine across the internet. It’s no surprise that it’s also one of the top advertising platforms online. Google Ads is Google’s official advertising platform that offers ad placements on its search results page or through the Google Display Network, where partner websites display Google ads on their landing page.
Why Google Ads? For one, Google has over four billion users worldwide, allowing it to have a massive reach on the audience with the intention of looking for something.
How does this work? Google advertisers choose from a list of keywords that are relevant to their product or services. Google ads work in an auction system where you can bid how much one is willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. You only get charged whenever someone clicks your ad. This is called the pay-per-click (PPC) method
This method helps businesses target people who are intentionally searching for something related to your business, and not just anyone scrolling on their phones. This is a channel to strategize with if you’re looking to target people interested in any related service or product.
Social Media Ads
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have been quite the platform for advertisements over the years. Over 4.3 billion users have been recorded on social media platforms around the world at the beginning of 2021. What used to be the avenue for social interaction between friends and family is now also the best platform for customer engagement.
Figure 7.3. Social Media Ads. Allow you to push ads to your audiences on the social media platforms they are present in. Depending on the platform, you can deploy these simultaneously like the convenience of Facebook’s integration with Instagram. Photos courtesy of Palawan Pawnshop and Sanicare on both Facebook and Instagram.
Using social media ads gives your business a more personalized approach to your target audience. Unlike Google Ads, you target people on your ads instead of their search keywords. It is important to be able to tag according to their interests to generate interaction between you and your customers.
Facebook, for example, is one of the top digital advertising platforms to exist. Setting up your page and optimizing your Facebook ads correctly can help increase your brand awareness immediately with minimal effort. Keeping your audience engaged and interested is another story.
With the evolution of digital marketing, your social media timelines are not the only ones businesses can target for ads. Your Facebook and Viber inbox is also a platform for businesses to engage with their customers. Messaging ads give businesses the opportunity to have real and organic engagements with the customer.
Facebook messenger and Viber both offer messaging ads. It works almost the same as social media ads, but with a more personal approach. Messaging ads offer instant lead capture
Figure 7.4. Spotify Ads. Allows advertisers to push auditory ads to Spotify’s regular subscribers. Although the platform does have a massive listener-base, there is the limitation that your ads aren’t reaching premium subscribers. Photo courtesy of smartwater via Spotify.
Everybody likes music and may have their own Spotify accounts. The world-famous music streaming service offers free accounts where businesses can place their ads periodically while a person streams their favorite music. These ads are the modern version of radio ads, and with over 100 million users it’s now more popular than radio advertising.
Spotify ads work on a CPM or cost per thousand impressions. Spotify ads come with both audio and visual aid for up to 30 seconds. They also offer display ads and sponsored sessions. You can target your market based on their demographics, location, interests, and activities. This means you can target your audience based on the music they listen to.
Figure 7.5. Native Ads. Are called ‘native’ because they aim to look as naturally blended into a page as possible. These are the types you see in the middle of articles, at the home page, or even at the side-bars, appearing the same way as normal story pages and/or headlines do. Photo courtesy of BuzzFeed.
Before the internet there was newspaper, television and radio commercials. These native ads are still present in the digital marketing world today, just in different channels. You can place press release ads on online news sites, audio advertisements on music streaming sites, and video advertisements on video streaming platforms. These are the type of third-party platforms you can pay for so they could publish your article or video.
Moving on to earned advertising, this is where your brand gains additional exposure or engagement without paying for it. While these channels are somehow “free of charge”, it’s not something you can control in terms of brand reputation because the users are in total control of these channels.
In digital, word-of-mouth is the reviews, forums, and public discussion that all talk about your brand, which can happen organically or as amplified. Organic are ones where customers personally post something about the brand because they’re happy about it. It can come in the form of an online review, a shout-out on social media, or quite simply a referral when people are looking for a related brand provider.
Amplified word-of-mouth is where the brand encourages people to share their insights about the product or service through various campaigns. For example, a milk supplement for infants can ask moms their experience on the product which you can use to your advantage
92 percent of consumers believe in customer feedback rather than actual advertising, and 72 percent of them identify word-of-mouth posts as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. Keeping an eye out for customer feedback and using them to your advantage, both in advertising and logistics, can help your brand improve accordingly. It is also your “proof of truth” for your products. Customer reviews can help you determine your unique selling point so you could make bold statements about your brand.
Figure 7.6. Brand Reputation. Is a type of earned channel that is the product of crisp and consistent branding on your part. This entails not just the observable display of brand service, but also the consistent delivery of good products and services. This is exemplified by the feedback you get from your customers like this customer reviews fold on knowledge entrepreneur solution platform Kajabi.
This is a form of digital marketing where a business influences consumers’ perception of their product or service. The main goal of this is to bring in a positive image for your brand — and keep it that way. This means sending out factual information about your brand that will greatly influence consumers to buy your product.
These advertisements can also use customer reviews and user-generated content to help build brand reputation. As mentioned before, consumers are highly influenced by other customer experiences. These posts can strategically help you improve the trust between consumers and the business.
Figure 7.7. Virality. Is a channel made possible only because of the rising usage of digital channels. Although a note of caution here is that: you can actually go viral for both good and bad reasons. So while this is somewhat of a sought-after result for online content and campaigns, you must take absolute care with your executions, because they might end up working against you. Photo courtesy of RC Cola on Facebook.
It’s easy to think that when a post or video goes viral online, it’s usually caused by a stroke of luck. Technically, it could work that way. But you would need the right type of content that’ll convince the users to personally share your post on their social media accounts.
Virality marketing works in a way like an organic post. You post a video or a photo and let social media do its work. But keep in mind that becoming viral can happen in two ways: it can be for you or against you. This advertising strategy falls under the control of your users, your messaging can be misinterpreted and affect your brand negatively. So best to be careful.
Figure 7.8. Link Building. Above, you can see top pages of Backlinko and how many referring domains a page has. Each link signals a ‘vote of confidence’ for the page, and helps it rank better on SERPs.
Link building is generally the practice of adding in backlinks or getting other websites to link to your business’ website in order to improve search engine visibility. This strategy generally helps the SEO improvements of your website.
With the Google search algorithm improving by the day, backlinking is generally the best way to earn higher rankings in search engine results. Organic link building is a long and difficult process, especially with authoritative websites. With the right combination of compelling content and partnership with reputable people with websites, you’ll be able to improve your search ranks in no time.
Rented advertisement is the practice of using third-party platforms to promote your product or service. Many businesses use external platforms to easily reach their customers, and target other people with their advertisements. You might confuse rented ads from paid ads because they come from the same platforms. Basically, rented ads take on the more organic content versus paid ads where you can pay a certain amount so your content can reach more people.
Social Media Platforms
Technically speaking, when your business has a social media page, you really don’t own that page, but rather you’re just borrowing the space for your brand. Using social media, you’re able to reach your community easily without forcing them to visit your website.
Whether organic or paid, social media plays an important role in advertising. As many are already on these sites, you don’t need to look elsewhere. You just need to strategize your content in a way that your audience is interested in.
Be intentional when you post on social media; it would be hard to stand out in the flood of content there, otherwise. Make sure you tick off all the items on this social media content QA checklist so you can make sure that it’s high-impact and valuable to your audiences.
Remember those yellow page books we used to find someone’s contact number? There are now websites that do that exact same thing — an online catalog for websites and contact details where customers can look for you when researching a certain product or service.
Advertising on online directories can help you reach audiences interested in your service. This strategy also allows you to improve your SEO ranking as well.
When using these directories, it is important to communicate as much as possible about your services. This gives target consumers all the information they need before clicking your website
Figure 7.9. Email. Are considered rented, because you use a third-party service like Gmail or others, to send out promotions, updates, or other content relevant to your audiences. These go straight into their inboxes and, through sophisticated emailing tools, you can measure their open rate, and other relevant metrics.
Email marketing is another advertising strategy used to sell products and services, news, or even tell a story to your audience. Customer’s email is included when they agree to subscribe to receive email communications from your end. Basically, when subscribers visit your website, they’re obviously interested in your brand.
Although email marketing can look spammy when not done right, it is important to come up with engaging content and templates to prevent your customers from clicking the unsubscribe button. Like many advertising platforms, it’s best to become a little personal with your subscribers.
In creating an email list, it is as important to be as organic as possible with a signup form on your website. Buying an email list won’t do you any good because it’s illegal and will only increase your chances of not only reaching the spam folder but also getting a high volume of canceled subscriptions.
Figure 7.10. SMS from Paysons. The images above are examples of SMS promotions blasted out by Paysons, an online checkout solution for online businesses. SMS blasts are limited to a few characters before it gets truncated, so make sure that you get all relevant details to your promotion delivered in a crisp and clear manner.
SMS marketing is the method where businesses use text messages to promote promos or services to their customers. Much like email marketing, SMS can only be used with the consent of the customer, but it’s the easiest and quickest way to reach your customer as more and more are becoming attached to their phones.
SMS marketing can be used for time-sensitive promotions, urgent updates. In order for your text message to be successful, it’s important to provide a link where customers can click to get more information from. This kind of marketing strategy can be used, especially for ecommerce websites.
This is the best complement to your digital marketing strategy, because it can instantly give your website link (or any link for that matter) to your customers so they don’t have to search for it anymore.
Figure 7.11. Push Notifications from Grab and GCash. These are good for sending quick updates, or promos, especially for app-specific services. Above are examples of notifications from a mobile wallet (GCash) and ride-booking (Grab) apps.
If you notice some ecommerce apps or websites that constantly remind you of their next big sale, this is actually a marketing strategy that uses push notifications to promote their new promos.
As smartphones continue to emerge, more and more businesses engage into push notification marketing — a strategy where they inform their customers of the latest promos and offers through their phone’s notification settings.
This strategy has better outreach and engagement rate of 88% from consumers as well. Push notifications can be either done through mobile or even your browser when the customer visits your website.
In making the most out of your ads, it’s important to personalize your notifications, these include reminders of their transactions, delivery notifications, and mix them up with promos they’re interested in.
And last but not least, Owned Ads. These are platforms or channels that a company owns and has complete control over the content and the branding. These channels are the ones you should prioritize in having as you have complete control over them. These include the following platforms:
If you want your website to be found on the first page of Google’s search results, then you would need to work on your site’s SEO to help improve the quality and quantity of organic traffic you’re receiving for better SERP performance.
This can be done by looking at the following foundational SEO components:
Figure 7.12. Four Pillars of SEO. There are various practices in SEO that don’t just involve incorporating keywords into content and pages. There are also technical, off-page, as well as content SEO that can help beef up your overall efforts in optimizing for search. Photo by Propelrr.
To help improve your SEO, it’s important to have a user-friendly website, and create content that can be easily digested by the consumer.
Figure 7.13. The Sanicare Website. Is a page dedicated to not just providing their users lifestyle content, but also serves as an ecommerce platform where their customers can purchase their products and send inquiries. Photo courtesy of Sanicare, Philippines.
The number one thing every business should have for their digital marketing strategy is their own website. The website will become the central landing page everyone can head to whenever they need to look for something about a product or service. While social media is equally important, you can’t possibly put everything there. Your website is your sanctuary where you can put all the information your customers need without looking like a word dump.
Optimizing your website for the best user experience is a good way to help your customers remain interested. For instance, a mobile-friendly website with a good loading speed is a nice upgrade for users who are now more into smartphones and tablets. This helps avoid bounce rate and generate better sales for your brand.
Newsletters can help inform your customers of the latest news, promotions and services once they are subscribed to your newsletter list. Think of newsletters as a way of bringing your website content to the inbox of existing or potential customers.
Email marketing is relatively cheaper versus other advertising strategies and it can help generate regular website traffic.
Figure 7.14. Blogs. Like our own Propelrr blog, helps not just establish your expertise in your industry, but also help provide your audiences information that can help address their needs. On our blog, we provide quick tips, as well as updates on the digital marketing industry that help inform our visitors.
A Blog is the avenue where your business can share its knowledge and expertise about a certain subject or topic in relation to your product or service. The right content can also help with improving your website’s SEO by using the top keywords that can help inform customers about our brand.
In establishing a blog section to your website, it is important to choose topics that are timely and relevant to your customers. This way, you’re able to build a reputation that you are indeed an expert in your industry.
Indeed, channels play an important role in digital marketing and one should be able to determine which of these are beneficial to your business.
When it comes to choosing the best channels, it’s important to mainly focus on two important considerations:
- Knowing the channels where your target audience are mostly active on, which ones they’re engaging, which help you grow conversions, and simply which ones are not working for your brand.
- Determine the level of control you have per channel. Take for example, owned channels give you full on data analytics capabilities for conversion tracking while rented channels are limited to what the platform of your choice provides. Ideally, should focus more on channels you can control fully since these give you the data insights to improve your overall digital marketing framework.
With these diverse channels you can now include in your digital marketing strategy framework along with the important considerations you have to keep in mind for each you are now ready for the next big step which is Strategy and Execution!